There is a tremendous amount of pressure in our world to be socially outgoing. This is not only deeply baffling, but totally unwarranted. Rather than an innocuous personality trait like patience or playfulness, shyness is often seen as somewhat of a shortcoming. Some even report feeling shame in regards to their introverted leanings. Quiet people are more inclined to apologize for who they are and fight their natural inclinations, rather than simply acting in a way that makes them feel comfortable. For this reason, many people grow up never realizing they have a heavily introverted nature. They just think they hate people.
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This reasoning is faulty based on the simple fact that introverts usually have very deep friendships. They love people – they just also love being alone to recharge their energy after spending time with them. This can cause a lot of confusion to someone more extroverted, who might be much more liberal with their social time. An introvert might offend their friend without meaning to, or send a signal that they don’t intend to simply by staying home. In the context of social pressure, they might just give in to the common misconception that they don’t like people. It’s easier, after all, than explaining – to themselves and to others – that their friendships just operate differently.
So, how can you be sure that you are, in fact, an introvert – and not just someone who hates people? Here are some simple signs:
-You can’t stand small talk, and would much rather have a meaningful conversation.
-You have lots of introverted friends. You may not hang out with them every day, but your bond runs deep.
-You would rather go to a small dinner party than a big extravaganza. One-on-one coffee is even better.
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-You hesitate when making plans because you don’t have the energy to go out – not because you don’t love the person trying to extract you from the couch.
-You are relieved when a friend cancels plans. You didn’t want to go out, but you also didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
How did extroversion become the preferred mindset in our society, when introverts have so many valuable qualities? Maybe it’s for the simple reason that extroverts are the ones doing most of the talking. Maybe it’s because introversion is often (wrongfully) confused with rejection, which nobody likes. Whatever the reason, it’s time to rethink this mindset as a society. “Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet,” said introvert Michaela Chung. “I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.”